Saturday, May 4, 2013

Angelo Olivieri & Alípio C Neto Doppio Trio - Progetto Guzman / If Not: Omaggio a Mario Schiano (The New York City Jazz Record by Tom Greenland)

Sin Fronteras Actis Dato Quartet (Leo)
If Not (omaggio a Mario Schiano)
Progetto Guzman (Terre Sommerse) Untitled #28 Fabrizio Sferra Quartet (Jando Music) 
by Tom Greenland

Jazz, first introduced to Milanese audiences in the early 20th century, was later adopted and adapted by local musicians, with strong scenes emerging in Milan, Rome, Sicily, Perugia (home of the Umbria Jazz Festival) and elsewhere.

Integral to Italian new jazz for 40 years, multi- reedist Carlo Actis Dato maintains his ebullient humor on Sin Fronteras, a quartet release with soprano/alto saxist Beppe Di Filippo, bassist Matteo Ravizza and drummer Daniele Bertone. The all- original date sustains a Carnevale-esque atmosphere through danceable beats, catchy unison melodies and raucous soloing, spurred by group chanting, whistling and scatting. Favoring baritone sax (with occasional tenor and bass clarinet), Dato’s style blends inside and outside playing, delivered in a slightly husky tone, complemented by Di Filippo’s higher-pitched melismatic lines. Bertone combines standard drumkit and hand percussion on Middle Eastern and South American rhythms, which meld with Dato’s Middle Eastern melodies and Phrygian harmonies in a distinctively Mediterranean style.

If Not, an homage organized by author Paolo Carradori to the late Mario Schiano, a father figure of Italian free jazz, combines the trios of trumpeter Angelo Olivieri (with bassist Silvia Bolognesi and drummer Marco Ariano) and tenor/soprano saxophonist Alípio C. Neto (with bassist Roberto Raciti and drummer Ermanno Baron), with guest appearances by soprano saxist Eugenio Colombo, trombonist Giancarlo Schiaffini and others. The repertoire includes Schiano’s “If Not Ecstatic We Refund” (both studio and live versions), “Sud” and “Song” (which ends with a recording of Schiano singing in a slurry, Louis Armstrong style), plus standard covers and free improvisations. Olivieri and Neto prove dynamic leaders and the free improvisations show remarkable transparency, no easy task with multiple bassists and drummers.

Drummer Fabrizio Sferra leads his quartet of reedman Dan Kinzelman, pianist Giovanni Guidi and bassist Joe Rehmer on Untitled #28, a collection of hummable tunes over floating rhythms, which are easily accessible yet open-minded. Like the late Paul Motian, Sferra leads by following, preferring the role of facilitator and colorist to that of timekeeper, giving this project a truly collaborative feel. Most of his songs are grounded in tonal harmony, with an almost hymn-like quality, though the key centers tend to shift in unpredictable ways. Sferra’s unobtrusive, virtually subliminal playing accomplishes more through innuendo than overt emphasis while Kinzelman’s tenor sax (with several clarinet cameos) and Guidi’s tinkling arpeggios add to the Sunday afternoon ambiance of the set.

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